Protestors at an anti-lockdown rally in Texas yelled ‘fire Fauci’ in a targeted chant against President Trump’s top medical advisor, as thousands of Americans defied stay-at-home and social distancing orders at rallies.
Meanwhile, anti-Trump activists launched counter-protests outside of the president’s properties and laid body bags on the ground.
Hundreds of protestors gathered at the capitol building in Austin on Saturday to fight the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home orders. The Texas protest was organized by Owen Shroyer and attended by Alex Jones from Infowars.
Cell phone footage from the protest showed people hoisting Trump 2020 flags and anti-lockdown signs into the air while calling for the dismissal of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top immunologist and infectious disease expert.
Since the global disease was first detected in Washington state, Dr. Fauci has become a leading public health expert in President Trump’s coronavirus response.
Protestors in Austin, Texas, screamed ‘fire Facui’ in a targeted chant against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top immunologist and infectious disease expert
Pictured: Infowars host Alex Jones, who helped organize the protest, marches with protesters during the “Reopen America” rally on Saturday
Fauci is often seen near Trump during daily briefings and COVID-19 press conferences where he updates the public on health developments.
The crowds chants come after Trump publicly showed support for the anti-lockdown protests and repeatedly contradicted Facui’s public health recommendations.
Texas announced that it would be the first state to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic next week.
Retailers will be able to open again next Friday but on a to-go basis, meaning they must deliver to people’s homes, cars or other places.
A woman who helped organize a COVID-19 anti-lockdown protest in New Jersey was charged for defying stay-at-home orders on Friday, authorities said.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office said Kim Pagan, of Toms River, was charged with violating emergency orders after she organized a protest against the state’s lockdown in Trenton.
Gov. Phil Murphy first implemented the coronavirus emergency orders last month. New Jersey has at least 78,467 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,840 deaths.
Video shared to Facebook by Central Jersey Libertarians showed a police officer writing summonses as protestors shout and honk their cars’ horns near the statehouse.
Cell phone footage taken from the protest showed a New Jersey police officer writing summonses as upset protesters yelled and defiantly honked their car horns
On Friday, anti-lockdown protestors in Trenton, New Jersey, held a rally hitting back at Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus emergency lockdown orders that have closed nonessential businesses and mandated stay-at-home orders
‘We have a right to peacefully protest,’ one woman shouted, as the officer walked by a car window that reads ‘playdemic.’
State stay-at-home protests also popped up in a Walmart parking lot in Hamilton. Protesters arrived with signs, American flags and wrote anti-lockdown messages on car windows, NBC New York reports.
One window read: ‘MURPHY’S LAW WORSE THAN COVID-19.’
Gov. Murphy said New Jersey’s coronavirus curve has not yet plateaued.
He said: ‘Even if the rate of our increase is lessening, which it’s hard to argue it hasn’t over the past week, we have two realities that we cannot escape. One is it is still increasing.
‘So with all due respect to this notion that we’ve found some plateau, we’re not at any plateau.’
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (pictured) instated COVID-19 lockdown orders last week as he told residents cases have not yet plateaued
In recent days, thousands of Americans have flooded the streets with anti-lockdown protests as President Donald Trump voiced his support to ‘liberate’ states on Twitter.
Protests have appeared in several states like Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, California, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and Minnesota.
A few hundred demonstrators cheered and waved signs outside the New Hampshire State House on Saturday during a call to reopen the state, the Associated Press reported.
Members of the crowd carried signs with slogans such as ‘Live Free or Die,’ the state’s motto. Others included ‘Restore Jobs’ and ‘Kiss My Constitution.’
One demonstrator, talk show host Ian Freeman, said the government was guilty of fear-mongering over the state of the virus, and it was time to restore individual rights.
Pictured: Members of the Boogaloo Movement, attend a demonstration against the lockdown over concern about COVID-19 at the State House
‘Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home. I’d rather take the risk and be a free person,’ he said.
New Hampshire has had nearly 1,300 cases of the virus and more than three dozens deaths through Friday.
‘ReOpen Maryland’, an anti-lockdown group, protested the state orders Saturday in downtown Annapolis with a procession of vehicles.
The Capital Gazette reported that most protestors remained in their cars – as to keep with social distancing guidelines – and held signs out the window.
The group demanded in an online petition that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan should re-open businesses, religious facilities and schools.
State Republican delegates pushed back at Hogan’s mandates in a letter Saturday where they asked he relaxed restrictions in certain regions.
‘We fundamentally believe that what works in one region of the state may not be applicable to others,” members of the House of Delegates Republican,’ the letter read.
Pictured: Members of the Boogaloo Movement, attend a demonstration against the lockdown over concern about COVID-19 at the State House in Annapolis
‘ReOpen Maryland’, an anti-lockdown group, protested the state orders Saturday in downtown Annapolis with a procession of vehicles
The Republican officials also asked that ‘local review boards’ be created to watchdog county health officers’ power and to end the ban on recreational activities like boating.
Spokesperson Mike Ricci responded on behalf of Hogan and said the suggestions were appreciated.
‘We’re all on the same page: we want to get Maryland open again as soon as it is safe,’ he said. ‘We appreciate these ideas, and will continue coordinating with legislators as the governor prepares to unveil the state’s roadmap to recovery.’
The Virginia capitol building saw three anti-lockdown groups join forces on Thursday morning to hit back at lockdown orders. Gov. Ralph Northam closed nonessential businesses until May 8.
Protester Marco Caceres told NBC 12: ‘Who is he to determine what is essential in our society and what is not? I believe the liquor stores are open. Is that essential? There are a lot of things that are open that many people don’t consider essential.
Pictured: A demonstrator holds a sign at the Virginia State Capitol on Thursday while protesting the coronavirus lockdown
‘You’re trying to supposedly cure a problem but you’re doing more damage in my opinion than you are trying to cure the problem by forcing people to stay in their homes, not be able to earn a living, you know isolation kills, too.’
Marco Caceres: ‘You’re trying to supposedly cure a problem but you’re doing more damage in my opinion than you are trying to cure the problem by forcing people to stay in their homes, not be able to earn a living, you know isolation kills, too’
Three anti-lockdown groups in Virginia banded together to protest the state’s stay-at-home orders on Friday
Like other state protestors, the Virginians forwent face masks and gloves during the rally.
‘The reason why I’m not wearing a mask is that I’m not going to have someone tell me I have to,’ said protester Benjamin Wright.
‘It seems ridiculous to me that a lot of businesses are closed. A lot of my friends who own their businesses are in risk of going out of business over this.’
Pictured: Demonstrators, using simulated body bags for props, protest President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Chicago, Illinois
Anti-Trump activists rallied in front of Trump properties across the country with body bags meant to represent the lives lost due to Trump’s outbreak response.
A group of protestors gathered in Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday with at least seven makeshift body bags.
Further west, activists with Refuse Fascism also put fake body bags in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower New York to protest Trump.
Some signs placed atop the body bags read ‘This represents 1000+ health care workers who died of COVID-19’ and ‘This represents immigrants who died in ICE custody.’
One body bag used in the Chicago anti-Trump protest had a sign that read ‘humanity first! Trump: restore funding to WHO’
Activists with Refuse Fascism protested President Trump’s COVID-19 response in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower New York
One body placed in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower New York read ‘This represents 1000+ health care workers who died of COVID-19’
President Trump doubled down on his tweets to ‘LIBERATE’ Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia, telling reporters Friday evening that the Democratic governors in those states went too far – and the protesters were treated badly.
‘You could get the same result out of doing a little bit less,’ Trump said of the stay at home orders in those three states. ‘You know, they’ve been treated a little bit rough,’ he said of those protesting against the lockdowns, who were often photographed wearing pro-Trump paraphernalia.
Trump admitted that he singled out Virginia because the state’s governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, had signed a new gun control law.
President Trump doubled down on his tweets to ‘LIBERATE’ Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota on Friday saying he thought protesters who were mad about the Democratic governors’ stay at home orders were ‘treated a little bit rough’
‘They want to take their guns away, they want to take their guns away,’ the president said during the Friday press briefing. ‘If he were a Republican he would be under siege,’ Trump said.
Trump called the new Virginia gun laws ‘a horrible thing’ and also reminded his audience of Northam’s previous scandal – that he had dressed up in blackface, which appeared in a yearbook.
‘And he’s a governor under a cloud to start off with,’ Trump said.
Trump made himself the star of the ‘lockdown rebellion’ Friday – which has pit governors against their constituents – by tweeting ‘LIBERATE Minnesota’ and then adding Michigan and Virginia to the list of states that should be freed.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee launched a scathing condemnation of Trump over his tweets, accusing him of ‘fomenting domestic rebellion.’
At the briefing, Trump particularly went after Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, saying the new Virginia laws Northam signed into law were a ‘horrible thing’
Inslee, whose state had the first U.S. case of coronavirus, the first deaths, and the first restrictions, launched a lengthy broadside against Trump, calling his tweets ‘unhinged rantings,’ and accusing him of risking violence.
Inslee was called a ‘snake’ by Trump, who mocked his failed presidential run, during an earlier clash with governors but the Washington Democrat’s lengthy attack came hours after New York’s Andrew Cuomo unloaded on Trump on live television, mocking his demand for gratitude for federal help and saying: ‘Thank you for doing your job.’
Governors have increasingly clashed with Trump, particularly after his head-snapping week which saw him first proclaim ‘total authority’ to decide on re-opening the country, then a complete volte-face to saying states ‘call the shots.’
The Washington governor said: ‘The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts.
‘He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence.’
He called the tweets ‘fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies’ and said they were in contrast to the ‘sensible’ guidelines Trump had unveiled Thursday on re-opening the economy.
But he suggested Trump was not the master of the plan, saying ‘Trump slowly read his script,’ and added: ‘Less than 24 hours later, the president is off the rails. He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.’
How Inslee went after Trump – scroll down to read his full statement
The president began by tweeting ‘LIBERATE MINNESOTA!’ as protesters gathered at the home of the Democratic governor Friday morning – then followed by offering the same message in Michigan
Then the president said that Michigan and Virginia, two more states under Democratic control, should also be liberated, adding in Virginia that the 2nd Amendment needed to be ‘saved’
INSLEE ON TRUMP: HIS FULL STATEMENT
The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts. He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before.
The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies even while his own administration says the virus is real and is deadly, and that we have a long way to go before restrictions can be lifted.
Just yesterday, the president stood alongside White House officials and public health experts and said science would guide his plan for easing restrictions. The White House released a sensible plan laying out many of the guidelines that I agree are essential to follow, as we work to resume economic activity. Trump slowly read his script and said the plan was based on ‘hard, verifiable data’ and was done ‘in consultation with scientists, experts and medical professionals across government.’
Less than 24 hours later, the president is off the rails. He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.
We appreciate our continued communication with the vice president, Dr. Birx, Admiral Polowczyk, Admiral Giroir and others in the federal government, but their work is undermined by the president’s irresponsible statements.
I hope someday we can look at today’s meltdown as something to be pitied, rather than condemned. But we don’t have that luxury today. There is too much at stake.
‘The president’s call to action today threatens to undermine his own goal of recovery by further delaying the ability of states to amend current interventions in a safe, evidence-based way. His words are likely to cause COVID-19 infections to spike in places where social distancing is working — and if infections are increasing in those places, that will further postpone the 14 days of decline that his own guidance says is necessary before modifying any interventions.
‘I hope political leaders of all sorts will speak out firmly against the president’s calls for rebellion. Americans need to work together to protect each other. It’s the only way to slow the spread of this deadly virus and get us on the road to recovery.’
And he warned: ‘His words are likely to cause COVID-19 infections to spike in places where social distancing is working — and if infections are increasing in those places, that will further postpone the 14 days of decline that his own guidance says is necessary before modifying any interventions.’
The clash came one day after the president’s coronavirus taskforce rolled out guidelines that would give governors broad power to decide when states’ economies would open back up amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But governors, including Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, have attracted protests from constituents complaining that the stay at home orders to prevent the spread of the deadly virus have trampled on their liberty.
All three states that Trump singled out have Democratic governors – and are potentially swing states in the 2020 election.
WHAT DO ‘LIBERATE’ TARGETS HAVE IN COMMON?
Donald Trump tweeted support for protests in three states: Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia.
Each of them have personal animus for Trump.
Trump’s path to election success in 2016 ran through Michigan, which he won by 10,704 votes. Failing to keep Michigan might not be a fatal blow but it would make his path to re-election even more difficult. Its Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer has been discussed as a possible Joe Biden running mate, so disrupting her handling of the coronavirus crisis could help on a national scale too.
Trump came close to flipping the state in 2016, losing by just 44,765 votes in what has been a long-reliable Democratic state. Trump has nursed a belief he can flip it this time, holding rallies there when he has ignored other blue states. Senator Amy Klobuchar is another possible Biden running mate and associating her with problems over the coronavirus crisis could be electorally useful.
The Washington D.C. suburbs have turned a once-reliable Republican territory into fairly certain Democratic territory in 2020. In 2018, Democrats’ suburban wave put them in charge of the governor’s mansion and the capitol and Republicans lost Congressional seats. Trump is considered unlikely to be competitive in a state trending from purple to blue but the Democratic takeover of the state across the Potomac has weighed on his party and if he can at least reverse the Congressional wave, his ambition of flipping back the House in 2020 would come closer.
Friday’s tweets come as a surprise because on Thursday when Trump was asked what his message to the demonstrators was, he declined to jump in the fray.
‘It’s been a tough process for people,’ Trump said.
‘And I watched, in one particular state, where they were – they want to get back. They want to get back. There were very strict sanctions that were put on people, that was probably the most strict of all,’ the president added, a likely reference to Michigan.
A reporter then asked if the president would urge those protesters to listen to their local authorities.
‘I think they’re listening. I think they listen to me,’ the president said. ‘They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion. And my opinion is the same as just about all the governors,’ the president said.
But Democratic governors, including Virginia’s Ralph Northam, have been extending business closures.
On Wednesday Northam announced that entertainment businesses in the commonwealth, including movie theaters and gyms, would remain closed through May 8.
Previously that policy was set to expire on April 23.
In his tweet directed at Virginia, Trump also advised residents to ‘save your great 2nd Amendment.’
‘It is under siege!’ Trump said.
A week ago, Northam signed a new gun control bill into law.
Northam was asked about the president’s tweet at a Friday afternoon press conference.
‘I would just simply say that as the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia I, along with this staff, is fighting a biological war,’ the Virginia Democrat said. ‘I do not have time to involve myself in Twitter wars.’
‘I will continue to make sure that I do everything that I can to keep Virginians safe and to save lives,’ Northam added.
Conservative pundits and Republican governors have been the ones pushing for Americans to get back to work – fearing that the economic destruction caused by people staying at home is worse than the wrath of the virus, which has so far killed a confirmed 38,846 Americans.
States with Republican governors were the last to put stay at home orders in place and there are still some hold-outs, including South Dakota where GOP Gov. Kristi Noem said Americans were giving up their ‘liberties for a little bit of security.’
Infections in South Dakota have tripled in one week.
‘I believe that South Dakotans can make the best decisions to keep themselves and their loved-ones safe,’ Noem tweeted Thursday.
Noem said that the state’s biggest outbreak, in a Smithfield Foods pork processing plant, would have happened even if she would have put a lockdown order in place.
‘What they are neglecting to tell folks is that this processing plant is critical infrastructure. Regardless of a shelter-in-place order or not, it would have been up and running because it’s an important part of our nation’s food supply,’ Noem said.
The US states with tentative re-opening dates: Alabama, Idaho, Ohio and Michigan have plans to lift restrictions on May 1 – a day after Trump outlines guidelines and hard-hit places like New York extended lockdowns until May 15
A handful of US states already have tentative dates to open up again following coronavirus-related lockdowns as President Donald Trump outlined guidelines for a phased reopening of the devastated US economy.
Alabama, Idaho, Ohio and Michigan have all expressed plans to reopen in some form by May 1, while Colorado has indicted April 26 and Oklahoma says April 30 for possible dates to kick start parts of their economies again.
Meanwhile, states like hard-hit New York had already committed to extending lockdown measures into at least mid-May prior to Trump unveiling his three-stage guidelines.
About 95 percent of the country currently remains on some form of lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
There are varying degrees of stay-at-home orders in those states with the most extreme shutting down all non-essential businesses and urging people to remain indoors unless absolutely necessary.
Seven states – Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming – still have no stay-at-home orders in place for its residents.
Despite no stay-at-home orders in those seven states, some have closed down schools and some non-essential businesses amid the pandemic. They too are looking to start reopening the state economies.
Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday his state was planning to reopen some businesses on May 1.
‘We must get Ohio’s economy moving again. We must get people back to work,’ DeWine said during his coronavirus briefing.
The governor said he had put together an economic advisory board, which is made up of small and big business CEOs, as part of the plan to start reopening.
In re-opening any business, DeWine said it was essential to provide a safe working environment to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases.
‘During the stay at home time, the companies that were allowed to continue have learned a lot and we’ve seen them put in place some very, very stringent measures. In a sense, this has been a trial period where we can see some of the things that work,’ he said.
He said the advisory board was currently working on the plan, saying: ‘We’ve got a lot more work to do between now and May 1 because we want to get this right.’
DeWine did, however, warn that life would not resume as normal for some period of time: ‘I am an optimist and am confident that Ohioans will also live up to the challenge of doing things differently as we open back up beginning on May 1.’
Trump on Thursday gave governors a road map for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out ‘a phased and deliberate approach’ to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases
Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Friday she hoped to begin re-engaging parts of the economy on May 1.
Her state has faced one of the fastest growing infection rates but some residents have taken to the streets in protest over the strict lockdown and their inability to return to work.
‘I do hope to have some relaxing come May 1 but it’s two weeks away, and the information, the data and our ability to test is changing so rapidly,’ she said in an interview with GMA. ‘It’s hard to tell you precisely where we’ll be one week from now, let alone two weeks from now.’
It comes after four sheriffs issued a joint statement saying that while they would spread public health messages about hand-washing and social distancing, they would not strictly enforce Whitmer’s stay-at-home policy because people needed to get back to normal life.
Mississippi’s Republican Governor Tate Reeves said he would extend by a week a stay-at-home order that was set to expire on Monday while easing some restrictions early next week.
In Utah, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox told CNN that parts of the state economy may reopen cautiously in the next couple of weeks.
In Texas and Florida, Republican governors were expected on Friday to outline plans for a gradual reopening of their states with both of the stay-at-home guidelines set to expire on April 30.
The governors of states in various parts of the country have already agreed to work together to coordinate reopening their states.
Seven Midwestern governors announced on Thursday they would coordinate after similar pacts were made in the Northeast and on the West Coast. The latest agreement includes Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kentucky.
The West Coast pact includes: Washington, Oregon and California and the Northeast includes: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
It comes as Trump gave governors a road map for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out ‘a phased and deliberate approach’ to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.
Guidelines largely reinforce plans already in the works by governors who have primary responsibility for public health in their states.
The United States has seen the highest death toll of any country in the pandemic, and public health officials have warned that a premature easing of social distancing orders could exacerbate it.
The political wrangling over the COVID-19 crisis has begun to take on familiar partisan battle lines. Democratic strongholds in dense urban centers such as Seattle and Detroit have been hard hit by the virus, while more Republican-leaning rural communities are struggling with the shuttered economy but have seen fewer cases.
Increasingly, Republican state lawmakers, including some in Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, have begun putting pressure on governors to reopen businesses. Pennsylvania’s Republican-led legislature passed a bill that would loosen restrictions, which Democratic Governor Tom Wolf was expected to veto.